By Amanda Browning Greensburg Daily News, Ind.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Salon owner Joyce Brindley says she gets to know her clients, their families, and their lives. Perhaps it is the extra effort Brindley offers that keeps her customers coming back -- some of them for more than 30 years.
Joyce Brindley has been cutting, coloring, and styling hair for 40 years.
Hair was her first passion and it has carried her through a lifetime career she still loves and continues at age 72. Brindley works out of her home salon, The Styling Station, at 204 N. Range Street in Westport.
"I wanted to do this before I ever got married and got pregnant," Brindley said. "When I was married the first time, I wanted to do hair and I started in school but never quite finished. When Roy and I were married, my second husband, he said he would rather I stay home with the kids until they got old enough, then I could go back to school."
When her oldest child was 16, Brindley went to beauty school and was fully licensed nine months later. She continued through colorist's schooling, as well as receiving other certifications over the years. Her training paid off and she won an Indiana State College competition in 1980.
"This was my first passion," she said. "And those who know me know I have a lot of passions."
Brindley worked at Columbus Barber Shop for a while before opening her own business in a rented space at Creative Hair Design. Her years there helped her build an extensive client list, as well as in-depth relationships with her regular clients.
The relationship with her clients is something Brindley cherishes about her work. For her, it's never been just cutting hair or just a job.
Some of her clients become as close as family as she shares their triumphs and struggles during appointments.
Brindley said she gets to know her clients, their families, and their lives. Perhaps it is the extra effort Brindley offers that keeps her customers coming back -- some of them for more than 30 years, returning with their own children.
"That relationship means the world to me. If I love somebody, I love somebody. I'm not talking husband and wife love, but there are so many good people in the world and I just want to portray that myself and have people around me that make me feel good," Brindley said.
One of her clients moved from Columbus, Indiana, to Atlanta, Georgia, and still scheduled appointments with Brindley when she goes north to visit family.
"I was just so proud of that," Brindley said. "I think it's because they like to go somewhere where they can feel at home. This is very homey. It's quiet. It's a small shop. I'm licensed to be a barber, a hairdresser, and a colorist."
When she retired ten years ago at the age of 62, Brindley returned to the small salon she'd built in her home when her daughters were just getting started as hairdressers.
The single room is bright and airy, full of natural light and comfortable. The tools of her trade are stored all around her and Brindley looks eminently comfortable among them.
"If you're a client of mine, you can call me and I will get you in," she said. "But as a rule, I usually work on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings."
Brindley can be reached at 812-591-2763 for appointments. She said if no one answers, leave a message and she will return the call as soon as possible.
"At 72, I'm still doing it and while people still want me to do it, I'll be there."
Brindley said she truly enjoys what she does, and it doesn't feel like work to her. It is, however a business.
Owning her own facility, which she operates out of her home, cuts down on the overhead costs Brindley has to maintain to stay in business. This allows her to keep her prices low -- in some cases significantly lower than other salons. That flexibility was important to Brindley when she decided to continue her business after retirement.
"It means a lot. You know what your overhead is and what you have to have. I never overcharge here. In fact, I've never changed my prices since I retired. I'll never raise them if I don't have to," Brindley said. "I've just kept them there and maybe that's why I keep my clients, but I hope and pray they come here because they love me and because they get good service. It's not about the money. It's about the people and doing something you love is never a job."
Brindley tries to make accommodations for last minute situations, such as funerals. Generally, though, she is able to plan her days effectively to manage all her responsibilities. She frequently will style hair at the funeral home of longtime customers when the deceased's family asks for her as well.
"It's my last chance to say goodbye to them. A lot of people might cringe, but I don't mind it at all."
Brindley said the biggest challenge of owning her own business is sometimes not having enough time, and occasionally not enough space if several people come together. However, with as many activities as Brindley is involved in, it's not hard to imagine occasional scheduling difficulties.
In addition to owning The Styling Station, Brindley oversees the YMCA meal program daily for local youth, and serves as a member of MainStreet Westport, the Westport Town Council, Solid Waste Board Vice President, and the Zoning Board Secretary.
But for Brindley, it all comes back to her first passion. Doing hair is calming to her. Calming enough to help her push through cancer with the same tenacity and vigor she shows for everything.
"I can come back here and get into somebody else's life and forget about mine for a while. Even with cancer, I just jumped through that like it was nothing," Brindley said. "Just like an artist finds it very calming to do art. When somebody comes in here and talks about their vacation while I'm working on their hair, it's just very calming to me. And if I can help them, it helps me."
Being a people person is vital for the hairdressing industry, Brindley said. Because the nature of her work is intensely one-on-one, she suggests those who don't listen well or don't enjoy working with people not pursue hairdressing. As cliche as it sounds, many people do treat their hairdressers as their therapists.
Brindley laughed. "They don't realize that it's therapy for me, too."
She also loves the feeling she gets when she turns a client around to face the mirror after a haircut or color.
That sort of happiness is contagious, it seems. A great haircut can change a person's outlook and give them a boost of self-confidence, she said.
Brindley said being a woman with her own business is a great thing. She has the flexibility to decide what she wants to do and what can be put off in favor of something more important.
"I see the world now in a different light than I did 20 years ago. I see women now coming forward -- owning businesses, running for government, talking among themselves, and helping with the things that need helped with," Brindley said.
She has seen a lot of progress in the way women are treated and perceived in the world through her lifetime, though Brindley said there is still room to go.
"I'm seeing it more now, but we're still not caught up. I think we still only have 20 percent women in the House to 80 percent men. It's coming," Brindley said. "There are so many smart women I know that are smart enough to hold any kind of office if they want to."